Easy Weeknight Meals

How to Make Fresh Ricotta Cheese plus an Easy Pasta Recipe

October 6, 2009
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I really hate to waste food. It’s definitely a result of my upbringing. My grandparents were children of the depression and never threw anything away. Add to that, being fairly poor as a small child, and thriftiness was indoctrinated from a very young age.
So when I had 6 cups of whole milk left over from making the chocolate peanut butter ice cream, I was in a quandary as to what to do with it. We don’t normally drink whole milk (though I’m sure my husband would, happily) and I couldn’t let it go bad. I couldn’t make any more ice cream because frankly, I just don’t exercise enough to justify it. So what to make? Cheese was my final answer.

In addition, I don’t like to have to go shopping just to be able to make something (see my post on making a lemon blueberry tart). What …

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Easy Tuesday Dinner; Pasta with Pancetta, Arugula and Pecorino

September 22, 2009
I finally got my mother to part with the remainder of the pancetta we made. Of course, I had to promise to make her dinner in return for her parting with the divine piece of pork. Next month we're going to Rome for a week . So, in honor of our upcoming trip, here's my best attempt at a recreation of my favorite pasta of the trip, trofe e cicoria e guanciale. Technically, guanciale is bacon made from a pig's cheek, but pancetta is close enough. This pasta is a great addition to the Easy Tuesday Dinner series because it's done in the time it takes to cook the pasta (about 10 minutes). It's even faster if you buy your pancetta diced and cheese already shaved/grated.
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Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan

August 24, 2009


My very first job in a restaurant kitchen was as the pastry chef for a small mom-and-pop Italian restaurant. How I got that job with no experience is a story for another day. But after working there for about 6 months, I moved to working on the hot line part time. One of my responsibilities was to make the batches of eggplant parmesan and lasagna. I loathed doing the eggplant because this meant I had to stand over a scalding rondo pan of hot oil and fry rounds of eggplant for what felt like days.
Later, when I was a head chef in another resaurant and would somehow end up with an extra case of eggplant, I never forgot how much I hated all that frying and came up with a much healthier version of the dish, grilling the eggplant instead.
I haven’t made this for over a decade, but …

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Salmon Cakes with Spicy Yogurt Remoulade

June 1, 2009


I grilled some wild Sockeye salmon a couple of nights ago and had a few cooked pieces left over. I was going to just toss it in a green salad and be done with it, when I thought, why not try something different? When I checked my ‘fridge and pantry, I had all the necessary ingredients to make salmon cakes.

Traditionally, crab cakes or salmon cakes are served with a remoulade. According to my copy of The New Food Lover’s Companion, a remoulade is a mayonnaise based sauce with “mustard, capers, gherkins, herbs and anchovies”. I’ve also seen it with the addition of ketchup, resembling 1000 island dressing. I wanted something lighter and with a bit of zip, so I came up with a spicy yogurt sauce influenced by the more traditional remoulade.


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Easy Tuesday Dinner; Tofu Stir-Fry

May 26, 2009


I really debated for a while with myself as to whether or not I should post this recipe.
Not because I don’t want to share.
Not because it’s not good.
But because it uses a bottled sauce (gasp!) and thus is not 100% home made.

I really don’t want this to be one of those blogs about how to use prepared foods to make it look like you slaved all day in the kitchen. Rather, I want to show people how easy it can be to make wonderful food, even when you get home late from work on a Tuesday and all you want to do is sit in front of your Tivo and catch up on episodes of CSI.

The reality is that it’s a rare cook who makes everything from scratch all the of time. Sometimes it just needs to be easy. This is one …

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